Innisfil mom holding summer bottle drive for Grade 8 class trip

Innisfil mom Melanie Norton isn’t giving up her quest to help her son’s Grade 8 class afford its year-end trip next year.

She’s hosting a summer bottle drive called Bottles For Kids to raise funds, but is getting resistance.

“When I was telling people, the first thing out of their mouth was 10 reasons why it wouldn’t work and it was really devastating to me,” Norton said.

She hopes the whole community pitches in for the bottle drive. Lefroy’s Taste of Europe is giving a donation for customers ordering ice cream mentioning Bottles for Kids.

“I want people to step up more. I use an analogy from the Humboldt Broncos accident. If one of our kids got hit by a car, or a family’s house burnt down, this community would be out the door, around the corner to give their support,” she said. “Why can’t we do that now?”

Even though Norton comes from a one-income family, she isn’t doing this to raise money just for her son.

“Times are hard, I get that. I want to make a difference,” she said.

Norton or Esther Schaffel will pick up any empties prior to July 21.

To arrange a pick up, email Norton at or Schaffel at.

Stayner artist keeps favourite clothing from landfill

A rip or stain doesn’t have to be the end for a favourite garment.

April Herbert is passionate about keeping things from ending up in the landfill by refashioning them.

Herbert is one of the artists who will be displaying her upcycled work at the on July 15.

Herbert went to high school in Penetanguishene and graduated from Georgian College’s graphic design program, but said the 12 years she spent living in the West Coast community of Sooke, B.C., is where his upcycling passion took hold.

“They’re so green out there,” Herbert said. “Which is why we started this store: to save stuff from the dump.”

Herbert opened Nifty Thrifty in Stayner, selling used furniture, clothing and decor, in June, but her passion for refashioning has been lifelong.

“When I was eight I made a par of denim overalls for one of my stuffed animals,” Herbert said. “I remember being 10 years old and making Barbie furniture out of a bleach bottle.”

Now, Herbert said she tries not to buy anything new.

“That’s really important to me. The thread is second hand. It’s almost 100 per cent recycled, buttons and everything,” Herbert said.

Nifty Thrifty Shop is located at .

CTV News files statement of defence in Patrick Brown lawsuit

CTV News is pulling no punches on Patrick Brown.

The broadcaster has filed a statement of defence in response to the former Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader’s $8-million defamation suit. In the document provided by Brown’s lawyer, Howard Winkler, at the request of, CTV called its decision to publish a report, in which two unnamed women accused Brown of sexual misconduct, “fair comment” and in the “public interest.”

“The named defendants had a duty to communicate the words complained of to the public,” Peter Jacobsen, a lawyer for CTV, said in the statement. “Each accuser felt that Brown had used his position of power over them and/or their vulnerability to pressure them into sexual relationships or engage in sexual activities with him. (The women were) several years younger than he was when they were inebriated and in positions subordinate to his. Brown was known by several people in the Barrie community to have had sexual relations with and/or to have romantically pursued women many years younger than he was.”

The details alleged in Brown’s lawsuit and CTV’s statement of defence have not been proven in court. Brown served as PC leader and Simcoe North MPP at the time the story broke in late January. He has continually denied the allegations.

However, the accusations led to Brown’s resignation as leader — a decision that triggered the leadership race won by now-Premier Doug Ford in March. Brown was also kicked out of the party caucus and barred from running for the PCs in June’s provincial election.

On July 3, Brown registered to run as a candidate for Peel Region chair in October’s municipal election.

CTV said the conduct of a person seeking to become premier is of “significant public importance.” CTV also referenced the Me Too movement in its decision to pursue the story.

While CTV reporters were initially made aware of potential accusations against Brown before the fall of 2017, allegations against American movie producer Harvey Weinstein “gave way to a new broad public awareness of the pervasiveness of previously unreported sexual harassment and assault endured by women as a result of the actions of men who abused their positions of authority.”

And, over the course of several weeks, reporters were “independently advised” of serious sexual-misconduct allegations against Brown, Jacobsen said.

After the broadcast, PC MPP Lisa MacLeod publicly stated she had flagged similar rumours about Brown in the weeks prior to his resignation, Jacobsen said.

The lawsuit includes CTV News president Wendy Freeman, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, three reporters, four unnamed producers and editors, CP24 and CTV’s parent company, Bell Media.

“The named defendants otherwise deny the allegations contained in (Brown’s) statement of claim unless explicit admitted herein,” Jacobsen said. “(They) explicitly deny the words complained of were falsely or maliciously broadcast or published.”

If successful, this would be the largest libel award in Canadian history.

In Brown’s 35-page statement of claim, filed in late April to a Barrie courthouse, his lawyers accuse CTV of “interference with the democratic process” due to the story’s proximity to the election.

On July 9, Winkler told via email the defence “will only serve to aggravate the damages to which Mr. Brown will be entitled.”

“CTV has exposed itself to great risk in the litigation by reasserting the truth of what they originally broadcast and by attempting to rely on unsubstantiated rumour to defend their conduct,” Winkler said. “CTV attempts in its defence to minimize both the meaning of the words they broadcast and their impact on Mr. Brown. In our view, the defamatory meaning of the words broadcast and their devastating impact on Mr. Brown are a matter public record and beyond dispute.”

Winkler said Brown will continue to pursue the matter and “vindicate his reputation and seek appropriate compensation for the harm done to him.”

“CTV in its statement of defence does not assert that there is any truth to the rumours,” Winkler said. “In fact, they specifically admit that they could not verify them.”

However, Jacobsen said CTV believes its report was fair because it included Brown’s denial of the allegations. Brown was also asked to participate in an on-camera interview in an email sent to his communications adviser Jan. 24. But Brown did not agree to that request, provide a substantive response to questions or ask for more time to reply. Instead, Brown’s lawyer issued a statement and Brown held a news conference a few hours later, just prior to the airing of the story.  

Damage to Brown’s reputation would have been caused by stories published by other media outlets in the weeks after his resignation as leader, including those concerning a probe by Ontario’s integrity commissioners into Brown’s failure to disclose rental income and a mortgage loan, and an investigation by Hamilton police over Brown’s involvement in a PC candidate’s nomination, Jacobsen said. 

City eyes $250 rewards for tips leading to Orillia graffiti arrests

The city could begin paying cash rewards, in partnership with Crime Stoppers, for tips leading to arrests of those responsible for graffiti.

Under a proposal that garnered council committee support, staff would seek $4,000 in the 2019 budget for a pilot project aimed at discouraging vandals from defacing local buildings by encouraging residents to keep their eyes peeled.

Coun. Sarah Valiquette-Thompson applauded the proposal as “an innovative approach” to a problem that continues to affect local businesses.

“I think this is really going to bring some closure and hopefully help resolve some of these issues,” she said.  

Rewards would be set at $250, with the city and Crime Stoppers each contributing half during the one-year pilot project.

The proposal, which requires council approval, is “a step in the right direction,” Coun. Mason Ainsworth said, adding some businesses and apartment buildings have been targets of “repeat attacks.”

Incidents of graffiti dropped slightly in 2018, with 91 incidents recorded as of the end of June this year (compared with 108 at the same time in 2017).

Five people were charged with graffiti-related mischief last year.

To date in 2018, no charges have been laid for graffiti.

Of the recommended $4,000 allocation, $2,500 would be earmarked for rewards, with the remainder going to promote the program.

Coun. Pat Hehn wondered about the potential effectiveness of providing an alleyway wall as a blank canvas for graffiti art — an idea discussed during her time on the city’s police board.

Staff has explored the idea through conversations with communities that pursued that route, said Shawn Crawford, Orillia’s manager of legislative services.

The measure “had no impact in actually reducing graffiti in those communities,” he said. “In a sense, it almost sort of promotes or supports graffiti, when in fact we don’t want graffiti to occur.”

Initiatives undertaken by the Orillia OPP to combat graffiti have included identifying downtown businesses equipped with cameras that project outside, mounting public education campaigns and encouraging retailers of spray paint to report potential suspects.

Orillia property owners are required to remove graffiti or have the city do it and be billed for the work.

City gearing up for final enclosure of Orillia recreation facility

Once entirely open to the elements, Orillia’s emerging recreation facility is gaining a skin as the project moves toward another stage in its development.

“Over the coming months, we are gearing up for the final enclosure of the building,” said Kent Guptill, director of facilities and special projects.

Once fully enclosed, significant interior work begins, including the filling of pool basins, tiling and lighting, he added.

“It’s a busy and exciting time for those working on the project,” Guptill added.

Most of the structural steel that defines the building is complete, while installation of masonry walls and exterior sheeting on the east, south and west walls continues.

Installation of roofing over the pool area is underway as well.

As the building takes shape, anticipation is growing among residents who have “waited a long time for this project to materialize,” Mayor Steve Clarke said.

“But what I find even more exciting is what the redevelopment of the 36-acre Foundry Park site will mean for Orillia,” Clarke added. “We are taking a brownfield that was once inaccessible to the community and transforming it into the social heart of the city.”

The facility is slated to open in the first quarter of 2019.

Want cannabis stores banned in your town? Read this first

With Ontario Premier Doug Ford handing the province’s municipalities the right to prohibit retail cannabis stores in their communities, he has displayed a populist penchant for municipal autonomy.

But prohibiting cannabis retail stores, as , might not be the best way to avoid the problems many associate with cannabis.

I say this because the idea that a municipality could ban the sale of intoxicants within their boundaries is older than Canada itself, is well-tested and has almost always been fraught with problems.

An 1864 law allowed municipalities by popular referendum, permitting a simple majority of electors to vote to end the retail sale (but not the manufacture) of alcohol in their communities.

Many dry communities saw little improvement. Others saw increased drunkenness.

And so many communities repealed the local option as soon as they could.

Liquor licensing

After Confederation, other alternatives to deal with drunkenness emerged. In 1876, the Ontario government took over liquor licensing. Although flawed, the law significantly decreased drunkenness in many communities.

Read more:

But the temperance folks wanted Prohibition, and in 1878 the federal Liberal government passed the . Under this improved version of the 1864 legislation, local options could be implemented at a county or city level, again by a simple majority.

Manufacturing could continue in dry communities, but it could not be sold there. Nothing, however, prohibited residents of dry communities, if they could afford it, from ordering booze from outside their town.

This 1871 depiction of a drunkard hitting his wife was a popular piece of anti-booze propaganda leading up to Prohibition in North America.
(U.S. Library of Congress)

By 1887, 25 counties in Ontario were dry; two years later all dry counties in the province had repealed the Canada Temperance Act.

Clearly, the temperance law was a failure. At the that toured Ontario in 1893-94, many witnesses —ranging from judges and priests to and liquor dealers —described how drunkenness continued in dry areas. provided their account books to show how productivity actually increased with large orders from dry counties pouring in.

Many described the various ways that the local option law was circumvented and how drinking often seemed to get worse.

People who might in the past have had a glass of lager in a tavern turned to whisky because it was stronger and more easily portable. Others ordered a barrel of beer to distribute from the back of a wagon. Some told how children made a game of getting their hands on whisky that had been secreted for later use, turning up drunk and sick. Horror stories abounded, and although there was doubtless exaggeration, many of the witnesses were reliable and respectable and provided their testimony under oath.

The local option a nuisance, not a deterrent

The local option saw a resurgence after the provincial government passed a law in the early 1890s allowing areas smaller than a county to vote themselves dry, but they required a higher proportion of support than a simple majority.

This was an attempt to ensure that only places with strong support for Prohibition could become dry. Many local option laws continued well into the 20th century, notably in places like . But with the car replacing horse power, and the local option being implemented in small communities often adjacent to wet ones, it became more of an inconvenience than a deterrent to drinking.

The local option generally failed for several reasons.

First, booze was profitable and vendors in nearby towns could easily get it to thirsty customers in dry areas. Second, the requirement of only a simple majority to pass the law meant that a large portion of the community would look for ways around the law. Third, this system favoured the rich who could afford to have whole kegs of beer or whisky shipped to them, or could travel to other towns to buy their booze.

It disadvantaged the poor, whose finances and mobility were strictly limited. It became, as commentators argued, “class legislation” discriminating against the poor while only inconveniencing the rich.

With all these problems, even many who supported Prohibition argued that a well-controlled licensing system was preferable.

Cause for pause

This experience with the local option in Ontario should give today’s municipal governments pause before following the path of Richmond Hill and Markham.

When you institute local prohibition, you encourage illegality and inequity.

The product you’re trying to restrict becomes more lucrative. This nurtures the very black market that the Cannabis Act is trying to squash.

Some people will not be able to get legal cannabis. The planned internet ordering system is convenient for people with credit cards and access to computers. It is not as convenient for poorer people.

So some people will have to find other ways to get their hands on cannabis, thereby encouraging the continuation of illegal sales. (Let’s save the elitist debate about whether poor people should be smoking pot for another day.) This could be dangerous, given the rise of and weed that wouldn’t normally be available through legal distribution channels.

Unless a vast proportion of residents in a community support such restrictions, such prohibition could encourage more illegality, more excess and more access to cannabis for those whom the law is designed to protect. Mayors who say that they’ve heard from people who don’t want cannabis shops in their town need to ask themselves if these voices are representative, or just loud.

Banning cannabis retail sales could cause more profound problems than it solves.

, Associate Professor, Medical History, Department of Health Sciences,

This article was originally published on . Read the .

The Conversation

OPP officer administers Naloxone, saves Barrie man

A Barrie man who almost died of a fentanyl overdose was saved by an OPP officer who was doing a routine check.

The officer was patrolling the parking lot at the ONroute off Highway 400 in Barrie on July 28, when she had cause to check a suspicious vehicle.

The licence plate check showed the owner of the vehicle, Cindy Bourgeon, 33, of Kitchener, had a warrant out for her arrest. The officer noticed that the man beside her, Nathan Marshal, 38, of Barrie was unresponsive.

Officers who assisted at the scene suspected a drug overdose from the opioid Fentanyl and gave the man a shot of Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids that has saved lives.

But the man only briefly revived, began to slur and then fell unconscious again. Police gave him a second dose while waiting for ambulance but Marshal still did not recover. He was taken to the Barrie hospital where he was given two further doses of the drug before he recovered.

A search of the vehicle turned up several hunting knives, a hatchet, a flick knife, a pellet gun, break and enter tools, digital scales and packets of cocaine hidden inside two false batteries.

Marshal and Bourgeon are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of dangerous weapons.

Robber accidentally stabs himself

In the midst of a home invasion, a Barrie man accidentally stabbed himself, causing a serious injury to his hand.  

Brandon Bennet, who was charged with armed robbery and possession of a weapon, appeared in court Aug. 15.

Court heard the man was at a party in Barrie and left. Later he and his friends returned to the basement apartment, pushed the door open and ordered the victim to sit in a chair, where he was smacked in the head with a baseball cap several times. Various items were stolen including a laptop, cigarettes and beer from the refrigerator.

In the process, Bennet reportedly swung his knife and accidentally cut himself on the hand. He ordered the victim to help tend his hand then ordered him to drive him to the Barrie Public Library.

He exited the vehicle and a night security officer noticed his hand bleeding and called police. Police took him to RVH where he was treated, then arrested for armed robbery. He was released on bail but reportedly failed to abide by his 11 p.m. curfew and found himself back in jail Wednesday, Aug. 15 for breaching his bail conditions.

Attempted murder

A Barrie man charged with attempted murder is now on trial in Barrie court.

Dean Richer-Lebreton, 43, is on trial for stabbing a 26-year-old man who was rushed to hospital where he had two surgeries.

The trial is set for one week before a jury.

Woman and child treated after Innisfil dog attack

A 44-year-old woman and a child were treated by paramedics after getting bitten by a dog in Innisfil Aug. 16.

Emergency crews were called to a home near the 5th Line and 9th Line around 4:30 p.m. for an animal complaint.

Paramedics were already treating the pair for a dog bite when officers arrived. They were both taken to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre for treatment of minor injuries.

The dog is being quarantined for 10 days and the Innisfil bylaw department is now investigating under the provincial Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

New venue for annual Innisfil Makerfest July 14

The senses will be stimulated at this year’s Makerfest event.

Along with all of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) information, the event ties in with Cookstown’s community picnic.

The annual Makerfest is July 14 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Cookstown branch of the Innisfil IdeaLAB and Library.

“It’s a great way to find out about things in the local community,” librarian Melissa Harris said. “We have amazing, talented people here and you can come and see what they make or do.”

This is the fourth annual , which explores the high and low tech worlds of robotics and more.

This year’s event includes a silver jewelry maker, a piñata maker, a virtual reality station, augmented reality colouring, 3D printed remote controlled cards, leather making, entertainment by the Fitzees, precious stone bracelets and library kits like the Lego WeDo, little Bits and Snap Circuits.

Harris noted the change in venue at the Cookstown branch at hosting it for the first time.

“We recently put a smaller version of the hack lab in Cookstown and you are able to check out a skill or go to tinker workshops,” Harris said.

The bonus is the splash pad should be running for this year’s Makerfest.

Barrie police searching for donation jar thief

Barrie Police Service is looking for the public’s help after a donation jar meant for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada was stolen from a Beer Store this morning.

Barrie police received an alarm call from the Blake Street store at about 5:30 a.m. July 10.

The front window of the business was smashed and video surveillance showed a man enter the store and steal a donation jar located on the counter.  The suspect quickly fled the scene with only the jar in hand, Const. Nicole Rodgers said.

Police hope someone will recognize the man and contact the investigating officer.

He is described as:

Male, white;

• 50 to 60 years old;

• Wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with red trim, light coloured jeans and possibly white gloves.

Anyone who may have information should contact Const. T. Howlett at 705-725-7025 ext. 2683 or [email protected] Any information can be provided anonymously to  at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at